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Plot Thickens in Maharashtra as Sharad Pawar Says Ajit Pawar Took ‘Personal Decision’ to Support BJP

Ajit Pawar, his nephew, becoming the deputy CM

The NCP supremo said he only learnt about Ajit Pawar, his nephew, becoming the deputy CM in the morning.

Mumbai: After the dramatic wee hour developments at Mumbai Raj Bhawan, NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Saturday said Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra government was his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party.

“We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his,” Pawar said in a tweet, distancing himself from the coup.

The NCP supremo said he only learnt about Ajit Pawar, his nephew, becoming the deputy CM in the morning. “I did not know before that,” he said, adding that he would hold a press conference on Saturday and speak “elaborately” then.

On early Saturday morning, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister for a second term while Nationalist Conference Party chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, Ajit Pawar, became his deputy.

There had been no word on whether the NCP as a party had decided to join hands with the BJP or a faction of NCP led by Ajit Pawar broke away. What added to the speculation was the fact that no other NCP leader was present at the oath-taking ceremony. The only ones there were Ajit Pawar and his family.

On Friday evening, Sharad Pawar had proposed Uddhav Thackaray’s name for the CM’s post after leaving the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP joint meet.

For a formal split to be recognized under the anti-defection law, at least two thirds of the legislature party needs to break away from the parent party. In this case, at least 36 MLAs from the NCP need to form a separate group.

Sharad Pawar had also met Prime Minister Modi last week in Parliament, claiming the meeting had nothing to do with government formation and was on the plight of farmers in Maharashtra.

In 2007 in neighbouring Karnataka, a faction of the JD(S) had rebelled against HD Deve Gowda to form the government with the BJP. Gowda’s son Kumaraswamy led the rebel group to become the Chief Minister for the first time which the former PM disapproved in public. The government lasted one year, and later Gowda and son Kumarawamy patched up.

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